LONDON — The Bank of England's Mark Carney agreed Tuesday to extend his period as governor by six months until January 2020 in order to help out in the initial phases of Britain's exit from the European Union.
The announcement from the government and the bank was expected after Carney told lawmakers last week that he was "willing" to extend his tenure beyond his scheduled June 2019 departure.
Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019 but there is uncertainty as to how it will leave. Though the extension is shorter than expected — most were predicting Carney would carry on for another year — the decision does help reduce one of the immediate uncertainties surrounding Brexit.
"I am willing to do whatever I can in order to promote both a successful Brexit and an effective transition at the Bank of England and I can confirm that I would be honored to extend my term to January 2020," Carney said in a statement.
Carney, who is Canadian and is reportedly interested in entering politics back home, won plaudits for helping to calm financial markets in the wake of Britain's vote in June 2016 to leave the EU.
Backers of Brexit, however, have accused Carney of taking sides during the Brexit referendum campaign, of being a leading proponent of so-called "Project Fear" when warning of the economic consequences of a vote to leave.
British Treasury chief Philip Hammond, following discussions with Prime Minister Theresa May, appears to have approved of Carney's performance so far.
Hammond told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that the British economy, in particular financial services firms, could expect turbulence if the country crashes out of the EU in March without a deal.
"I think a governor who is leaving at the end of June with his bags already packed would be in a poor situation to represent the U.K. in what might be some critical and time-critical negotiations over that period, trying to find practical solutions to situations that might arise," Hammond said.
Carney became in July 2013 the first non-Briton to take the top job at the Bank of England for an initial five-year term. He extended it by a further year in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.
In addition, the Treasury announced that Jon Cunliffe was reappointed for a second five-year term as deputy governor responsible for issues relating to financial stability.